The Falconeer Xbox Series X Review

December 5, 2020 by  
Filed under Reviews & Features, Xbox, Xbox Series X

Publisher: Wired Productions  Developer: Tomas Sala  Genre: Action

Players: 1  Age Rating: 12+  Other console/handheld formats: Xbox Series X, Xbox One

The Falconeer is a difficult game in more ways than one. It’s a difficult game in the sense that you may find yourself in a watery grave time and time again, and it’s also initially difficult to love and even more so to adore. This is a game that was developed by a single person (Tomas Sala), and with that said it’s difficult to not appreciate it, even if a number of issues keep it from soaring to truly heavenly heights. 

Taking place in The Great Ursee, a world comprised mostly of water, there’s a number of factions at war and lots of political intrigue in a thoroughly detailed and likeable storyline, with the different chapters of the game allowing you to see the conflict from different perspectives. The narrative also features some well-done voice acting that does come across as overly dramatic at times, although it does fit the tone of the game. 

The Falconeer sees you taking to the skies on the feathered back of a giant falcon, and it’s an armed falcon nonetheless. You can lock onto enemies (other Falconeer’s, airships, dragons, and so on), hold a button down to keep track of a locked enemy, and fire roughly in the area of a circle in the hope of hitting your target when you are a fair distance away from it. You can also dodge out of the way of enemy fire, dive towards the water to fill a blue meter, and this in turn allows you to speed the bird up as well as make use of those dodges. The ammo pots on the back of your falcon can also be recharged by flying close to lightening, which is another neat idea that adds some strategy to your aerial dogfights. It’s all fun enough, but with the absence of any form of secondary fire, the combat does feel rather limited it has to be said. 

You often have a wingman whom can be instructed to focus on particular targets.

To make your giant falcon more efficient, you are also able to inject it with various Mutagens, improving everything from your health regeneration to the speed and agility of the bird. You can also buy and switch out different ammo types, and even purchase better birds. Your falcon will also upgrade over time by earning XP through success in missions. 

It all sounds simple enough, but I must warn you that The Falconeer feels initially brutal and survival and luck feels more like luck as opposed to anything else. With all the latter said, I would recommend you to turn the difficulty down to easy, at least until you have a better idea as to what you are doing and you also have a better weapon at your disposal. I would even recommend you to fly around and do some side objectives in order to raise enough money to purchase said weapon before dropping yourself in the deep end with some of the main missions. Without heeding this advice, you may find yourself giving up early, and the game does deserve to be given more of a chance than this.

Even though you are pretty much doing the same thing over the course of the game, there is still a decent variety of missions, even if things do feel a little repetitive from time to time. You may find yourself simply fending off attacks at times, while other times you’ll take the attack to your enemy, escort and protect allies, deliver important objects and so on.  

The checkpoints during these missions are completely non-existent, and this is sure to irk many, particularly after making a fair bit of progress and then losing it all after being shot down, which may not happen too often when playing the game on the easy difficulty, although any difficulty above this is sure to cause frustration for many. At least flight times during missions can be cut down, as portions where you would normally be doing nothing other than flying often allow you to skip ahead.

You’ll often need permits in order to get tasks off certain factions. Unless you have the required permit, some won’t even trade with you.

The art style and world are beautiful, and it’s worth exploring as well, as you might discover some handy things, although because of all the water it can feel a little empty and samey at times, but this is of course to be expected. The beauty of The Great Ursee does make some of the more dull tasks a little more bearable. Orange sunsets, stormy weather and rough seas are all lovely sights that help absorb you into The Falconeer’s imaginative world. If you have a suitable display, then you can also play the Xbox Series X version at an extra fluid 120fps. 

With everything said then, The Falconeer is a bit of a mixed bag. Certain portions of the game are confusing and require experimentation, with some of these things being rather poorly explained by the game, and the difficulty could also do with being tuned for better balance. If you can get past these issues, however, there’s some enjoyable but undeniably shallow action to be had, which is also all wrapped up in a nicely written and complex storyline.